March 16, 2022

Charlie Feng, Co-Founder of Clearco | Growing Your Business From 0-1

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➡️ About The Guest⁣

Charlie Feng is the co-founder of Clearco. The work he does behind the scenes has helped his fintech company scale from three founders to almost 1,000 employees, and raise over $300M at a $2B+ valuation. 

Clearco is one of the top startups in Canada, a fintech company that uses AI to democratize access to capital. Charlie’s job is to build up teams and products, make them shine, and then move on to the next. He did this with nearly every team in the company, and he has had 7 titles in 5 years: he was Clearco’s first Head of Product, Head of Marketing, Head of Growth, of Finance, of Strategy, of Business Operations, and of New Ventures. 

His strategy has been earning dividends: the company’s headcount has more than doubled since the start of the year and is still growing. Clearco was just named #2 on LinkedIn’s Top Startups Canada, which looks at the ability to attract top talent--it’s the company’s third year in a row in the top three. Earlier this year, Clearco raised $215 million from SoftBank Vision Fund II, just weeks after a $100 million Series C round that quintupled its valuation to $2 billion.

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➡️ Talking Points⁣

00:00 - Intro

03:41 - Charlie Feng's origin story.

05:30 - The mindset required to grow your own business.

08:08 - What is the traditional process to raise money for a startup? 

12:28 - Risks you have to take on when fund-raising.

15:46 - What was the vision or mission of Clearco?

18:06 - How Clearco redefines term sheets.

20:30 - Going from 0 to 1.

21:13 - Startup growth strategies.

23:08 - Finding product-market fit.

27:36 - How do you know when you’ve found a proper product-market fit?

31:32 - What is the difference between product-market fit and founder-market fit?

33:57 - How to find the right team?

36:32 - When is the right time to hire a team?

38:26 - Lessons learned early in Charlie Feng's career. 

44:45 - What are some things Charlie Feng encountered in his business?

48:17 - Lessons for people who want to start their own business.

50:00 - Where do people connect with Charlie Feng?

50:25 - What was the biggest challenge of Charlie Feng's career?

51:57 - Who is the mentor of Charlie Feng?

52:57 - A podcast or a book recommended by Charlie Feng.

53:42 - What would Charlie Feng tell his 20-year-old self?

54:40 - What does success mean to Charlie Feng?

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